All Things oDesk

Weekly Limits on Hours

March 28, 2007 by

Buyers now have the ability to set weekly limits on the number of hours billed on any hourly jobs. The limits can be set by the buyer upon hiring any provider and they can be changed or added into an assignment at any later date. For buyers, if you'd like to add a weekly limit on hours for any of your existing assignments, please go to your My Assignments tab and select Change Limits. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Profile Completeness Meter

March 27, 2007 by

We've launched a mini-feature that is designed to help new and old providers alike complete their profiles to the best of their ability. Now, anytime a provider goes to the My Profile tab they will see a meter that shows a percentage ranking for the completeness of their profile. In addition to showing a percentage score, it will give the provider a tip on what step they should complete next. We made an effort to order the operations from easiest to hardest. So, in the beginning, it should be easy for a provider to improve upon their profile, and as they get closer to 100%, it may require a little more work. Providers: check out the My Profile tab to see how your profile stacks up. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

If a picture tells 1,000 words...

March 26, 2007 by

then what about a video spec? One new oDesk buyer used a short video to explain the requirements for her fixed price job. She needs someone that knows Joomla, is looking to spend around $100, and has received 5 candidates so far. Being a good project manager is a lot about being a good communicator - so we think this is a great idea. By the way, we also used Camtasia (the video capture software used above) to make our demo and our video tutorials. Read Full Article

Good oDesk ratings = better credit rating?

March 22, 2007 by

We certainly think so and so does our friend, Jeff Leventhal (the founder of OnForce), who set-up this group on person-to-person lending site Prosper. Note the following in the "Loan Listing Requirements" section: To have your listing endorsed by the group leader, please contact me. For endorsement I will ask you to email me copies and IT industry certification, recent pay stubs and W2's as well as three independent personal references. Good ratings on systems like OnForce and Odesk matter as well. Endorsements are important as they help increase lender confidence and help your listing get funded. The logic makes sense to us as we've seen that members with good feedback consistently earn more and find jobs more quickly. - Brian … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Work Diary Slideshow

March 21, 2007 by

We've revisited the oDesk Work Diary in an effort to make it easier and more efficient to review detailed work logs. The Work Diary has always allowed a buyer to review work by seeing full size screenshots taken at a random interval within each 10 minute block of work, but now you can view screenshots faster and with less clicks. Read more about how the Work Diary can be used. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

My Account Summary

March 13, 2007 by

Providers, it's a small change, but we have added a few important My Account items to the top of the My Profile tab in a My Account Summary pane. The goal is to make it easier to upload portraits, manage your email preferences, change your pay rate, and notice your contract status. Each is linked to the appropriate edit screen. As always, you can access much of the same information via the My Account shortcut. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Organic Skills Growth

March 7, 2007 by

We have launched the capability to add new skills to oDesk Profiles and Job postings. Previously, users had to choose from a specified list of skills. Now they will be able to type in a skill if they do not find their desired skill in our list. How does it work for Buyers: If Buyers do not find the skill they want in our list, they can click on the option to add a new skill. A text input box will appear where Buyers can enter the desired skill. Please note that there is still only one Primary Skill for each job. Step 1: Option to add new skill in job description form http://blog.odesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/buyer_org_skill1.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="display:inline" /> Step 2: Input field for new skill http://blog.odesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/buyer_org_skill2.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="display:inline" /> How does it work for Providers: On their Profile Editors, Providers will see the option to add a new skill if they do not find their skill in the drop-down. A text input box will appear where Providers can then enter the name of the skill. This will become part of their Profile and will be searchable using the keyword search on the Providers Search page. Step 1: Option to add new skill in Profile Editor http://blog.odesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/provider_org_skill1.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="display:inline" /> Step 2: Input field for new skill http://blog.odesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/provider_org_skill2.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="display:inline" /> Read more and leave feedback on the Community post. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Affiliate Self-Service Signup

March 7, 2007 by

oDesk has automated the application and signup process for Affiliate Managers. We had previously automated the process for Buyers, Freelance Providers and new Affiliate Contractors. We have implemented the same checklist process for new Affiliate Managers. What will it look like: New Affiliate Managers can now come to odesk.com, click on signup and complete the online application process. Once done, Affiliate Managers will have their personal profile and their Affiliate Company profile active on the network. They can then start adding their Affiliate Contractors on oDesk and start applying to jobs. The new process includes the following steps: Verify your email address Create your personal profile Describe your company Accept the oDesk Contract Take the oDesk Training Quiz The Training Quiz is 20 multiple-choice questions, that take Affiliate Managers through the basics of working on oDesk, downloading oDesk software, adding Affiliate Contractors and best practices for working on remote assignments. We have developed the quiz so that every new Affiliate Manager will be able to work effectively within oDesk as soon as they join the network. http://blog.odesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/affiliate_signup_list.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="display:inline" /> What does this mean for Buyers: Buyers will now be able to access a much larger network of Providers, both in terms of number and skill type. What does this mean for Affiliate Managers: Affiliate Managers will now be able to create their account, add other Providers and start applying to jobs in a single online session. There will no longer be any delays due to recruiting backlogs. Read more and leave feedback on the Community post. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Launches Fixed Price Beta

February 21, 2007 by

Hey oDesk-ers, We are excited to announce that oDesk now offers the option to post fixed price jobs. This option is in addition to the hourly jobs we currently support. What is Fixed Price? Fixed Price lets buyers hire a provider to do a job for specific bid amount. The buyer then pays once the provider successfully completes the job’s requirements. Why Fixed Price? We've been listening to the oDesk Community, and here are some examples of what we’ve heard. Users told us that while an hourly relationship is great for longer projects with changing requirements, fixed price was often preferable for shorter projects with fixed requirements. How to use Fixed Price? Buyers – go to www.odesk.com and post a job, and you'll have the fixed price option next to our standard hourly option. Providers - go to the jobs page, and select "Fixed Price" We'd love for you try it and let us know what you think. Check out the Fixed Price FAQ in Community to see why we're launching fixed price, how it works, and what it means for you. Thanks! Jason … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Providers now default sorted by Feedback

February 21, 2007 by

We launched feedback in July 2006, and we have since received over 2,200 feedback scores on over 900 providers. Buyers have told us they find the scores very useful in their hiring decisions, so we've decided to change our default sort from "Hours Worked" to "Feedback Score." This change applies to the Provider Search and the Candidate List on each job opening in the buyer's My Jobs tab. Buyers can still sort by Hours Worked - we've simply changed the default sort to reward those providers that have earned good feedback. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Invite to Interview

February 21, 2007 by

Every day, dozens of providers are hired on oDesk. About 50% of those hires are initiated when a buyer reaches out to a provider found by searching, and the other 50% are initiated when a provider applies to a job opening. "Invite to Interview" is designed to make the provider search experience more effective for buyers, leading to more interviews and hires. In the Provider Search results, we've replaced "Interview" with "Invite to Interview." This change is designed to solve 2 problems: 1. Make the invite process more like the provider application process, where the buyer gets a cover letter 2. Measure provider responsiveness, to reduce the problem of buyers that invite providers but don't hear back Before: * Every provider profile in search results has an "Interview" button * When a buyer initiates an interview, contact information is exchanged immediately * Providers did not have the opportunity to indicate whether they are interested * Providers were not asked to enter a cover letter After: * Every provider profile in search results has an "Invite to Interview" button * When a buyer initiates an invite, the provider is asked to accept or decline the interview * If the provider accepts, he is asked to submit a cover letter * Once the provider accepts, contact information is exchanged Providers - keep in mind that we plan to publish "responsiveness" stats on your profile and potentially in the search results, which means that you should either accept or decline interview requests as soon as you receive them. If you'd rather not receive interview requests, you can simply change your profile to private. Note that there is no downside to declining interviews; we simply want providers with searchable profiles to be responsive … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

One more o-blogger

February 13, 2007 by

Hi oDeskians - Brian Goler here. In case you didn't catch Robert Scoble's profile of oDesk on the ScobleShow, I want to quickly introduce myself to let you know that I've joined Team oDesk as VP of Marketing. I've been a huge fan of oDesk since last Fall when my last company hired a sensational java engineer to develop and manage our application. If you're an oDesk buyer and your experience has been anything like mine, you know the joy of posting a job one night and having a great provider working with you a couple days later. In our case, we interviewed eight candidates, invited three of them to complete a small test project, and hired one java rockstar (a Dutchman living in China) that has been managing the application for several months now. oDesk tools make it possible for the trans-global relationship to be more productive than we ever could have imagined. We've got a lot of exciting stuff in the works that will bring even more great job opportunities and talented providers into the network. Stay tuned. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Team functionality and work efficiency enhancements

February 13, 2007 by

We've made a number of enhancements to the oDesk Team application over the course of the past 2 months. This application is used by all providers to log their time to any active jobs that they have, but it is also growing in functionality. Our goal is to expand the functionality of this application beyond the basic time-logging function and make it a valuable tool for all oDesk users. At the same time, we've made a number of enhancements that are designed to improve the work experience and increase work efficiency. Hotkeys - any serious provider knows that shortcuts and hotkeys are critical to efficiency. Clicking and dragging around with the mouse is just a slow and cumbersome process for any commonly used functions. To that end, we've rolled out additional functionality that enables users to create hotkey combinations to make keyboard shortcuts to access Team Room, WorkDiary, Recent Screensnaps, Memo, Preferences, Suspend, Resume, Last Snapshot, and the Meter. Access this by right-clicking on the oDesk Team icon and selecting Preferences. Notification Balloons - Hate those annoying popup screens? Ever been engrossed in your work and started typing in the wrong window because of a new popup that you didn't notice? We've eliminated as many popup notifications as possible and replaced them with small balloon notifications that will signify important events during the course of your work. Hopefully, these will not disrupt any work and you can keep on moving when you're on a roll. Bugzilla Integration - A few months ago we integrated the oDesk Team client with Bugzilla to allow providers to select any assigned bug rather than typing out a custom work memo for their logged time. We've now made it even easier for providers to work on their list of assigned bugs … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Buyers: the weekly invoice now itemizes each provider

February 13, 2007 by

Buyers, your weekly invoice now shows you the total hours worked and dollars paid for each of your providers individually. A sample invoice can be found here. This small enhancement is the first step in a broader initiative to improve the financial tools available on oDesk for both Buyers and Providers. In the coming months, we will be exposing answers to the following questions, among others: What is my oDesk account balance? What is my account activity, including billed work and payments? Can I generate a statement for a custom-defined time period? When will I be billed next, and how much in services have I accrued so far this week? Can I store multiple credit cards on oDesk and select which one I want to use? Can I pay my oDesk bill via a method other than credit card? We know you need more information about your finances on oDesk. If you have suggestions, please post them in the community. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk on the ScobleShow

February 13, 2007 by

Gary and Brian talk to Robert Scoble about how oDesk works. Learn how oDesk can help you get hired: Interview - 17 min 48 sec Demo - 7 min 49 sec Interview: Demo: Here is the blog post on Robert Scoble's blog. Many thanks to Dave McClure for introducing us to Robert. - Abid … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk now counts your feedback on jobs with rate changes

February 8, 2007 by

oDesk launched feedback in the middle of 2005 and has made several enhancements to the system since then. One small but important change was made recently to properly account for users with multiple assignments with another user because of rate changes. When a provider receives a rate change during an assignment, end-of-assignment feedback has applied only to the work since the rate change. Each assignment in oDesk can only have a single rate associated with it, so that hours worked * hourly rate = total pay. Given that constraint, rate changes made during an active assignment actually closes the assignment and creates a new one with the new hourly rate. Therefore, when a user ends an assignment after a rate change, they are only leaving feedback on the second assignment and not on the hours worked prior to the rate change. This is primarily an architecture issue, but an important one that affects our users feedback scores that are critical to their success. This feature release has migrated feedback scores to the assignments without feedback. We did not overwrite any feedback scores. We only filled in the gaps to make sure that users get full credit for their work in the cases of missing feedback. For users that have had multiple assignments with the same user because of rate changes, you will now notice that the feedback scores count toward all assignments. We continue to strive to make the feedback system as meaningful and accurate as possible for our users to differentiate based on quality. We welcome any further input or suggestions on our community forums, http://community.odesk.com … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Job Message Board

February 7, 2007 by

We at oDesk want to help talented providers get great jobs. To get great jobs, providers need to choose jobs carefully and write a clear and relevant cover letter. The Job Message Board is intended to help providers do both - learn more about whether they are qualified for the job, and get a better understanding of the buyer's needs. It's simple. Any user can post a message on any job. When you post a message, it will be sent to the buyer and any providers that have applied for the job. The buyer's response is publicly visible for all to see. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the Job Message Board: * Ask clarifying questions about the project * Learn more about any required qualifications * Do not sell yourself - do that in the cover letter * Do not include contact information - once you apply, the buyer will get your contact information if he decides to interview you Let the discussion begin... Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk applications are now available for Mac OS X

February 7, 2007 by

We're happy to announce that oDesk applications are now available for Mac OS X. As our provider network has grown out of roots of strictly software development into more skill areas including more graphic design and web development work, we've received increasing demand to support Mac. The decision to invest in building out the applications for Mac was made easy as a result of the numerous requests from our users. In addition, we'd like to thank our users that eagerly volunteered to participate in the beta program and their feedback has been instrumental in resolving some stability-related bugs. oDesk Team and oDesk Share are now both available from our downloads page. Please note that some features available in the Windows version of oDesk Team are not yet supported on the Mac client. Why are we releasing the application without full functionality? We are firm believers that you should go to market as quickly as possible so your users can help shape the development of your products. With that being said, we can let you know about one known stability issue that we are currently working on. If you are running on an Intel and have a webcamera you may experience a stability issue when the oDesk Team application attempts to take a webcamera snap. Future builds of the Mac clients are in development and the applications will automatically update when new releases are launched. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Feedback Calculation Tweaks

December 20, 2006 by

We made a subtle but important change in the way that we calculate the average user feedback. Here is how we used to calculate it before for providers (symmetric for buyers too): The provider's average assignment feedback score weighted by the number of hours worked on each assignment. For example: a 100 hour assignment with a 5 feedback score and a 200 hour assignment with a 1 feedback score would result in a Feedback Score of 2.33 calculated thus: [(100 hrs * 5) + (200 hrs * 1)] / (100 hrs + 200 hrs) = 700 / 300 = 2.33 We are now switching to a dollar based weighting instead of hours. Instead of using the hours of the assignment to weigh the various assignments of a user we will be using the total dollars charged in this assignment. Here is the exact new definition from the community page https://community.odesk.com/feedback_providers The provider's average assignment feedback score weighted by the dollars charged on each assignment. For example, a $1,000 assignment with a 5 feedback score and a $200 assignment with a 1 feedback score would result in an adjusted score of, [($1,000 * 5) + ($200 * 1)] / ($1,000 + $200) = 5,200 / 1,200 = 4.33. In addition, the number of feedbacks received is displayed in parenthesis. In the vast majority of cases this will result in very little or no change at all because providers rate changes little across assignments. However, a user cannot "game" the system by using artificial assignments with very low rates. Such assignment will be weighed down. Furthermore, the new definition will allow us in the future to incorporate other non-hourly components into the feedback that today are not taken into account like bonus or refunds. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Changing Contact Information

December 20, 2006 by

Finding and changing the contact information has been unnecessarily complex in our application. For providers, some of the information was in the My Profile tab, some in My Account. For buyers there is the Billing Information screen that includes the billing address. As for their non-billing address - lets hope they got it right in the signup process because they would need to file a support ticket to change it afterwards! We are trying to fix some of these obvious inconsistencies and unnecessary complications. We moved most of the contact related information to the My Account tab, which is common for buyers and providers. In addition to that the buyer has the option to auto-update his address information when they change the billing address information. These changes are part of an ongoing effort to unify the interfaces and structures between buyers and providers : they are both users of the marketplace. Our eventual goal is to enable a user to act in any capacity they want, as buyers, providers or both maintaining a global profile, feedback, billing and contact information. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Flag as Inappropriate

December 6, 2006 by

Users can now help us maintain the quality of our network by reporting any job posts, provider profiles or candidacies that are inappropriate. When you click the \"Flag as Inappropriate\" link you will submit a ticket to our support team and report to them the possible violation. Read Full Article